YMMV / JLA: Act of God

  • Badass Decay: Doug Moench obviously intended them to be an inversion, but the retrained ex-superheroes are kind of hard to take seriously in their new identities, as Linkara puts it
    Linkara: (in reference to Aquman's new identity as "The Hand") You're Aquaman! You're the King of the Oceans! Two thirds of the Earth's surface belongs to you! You can call up Krakens and all manner of sea creatures, and now, you're "The Hand"!
  • Critical Research Failure: Doug Moench has had no experience with anybody involved with this story besides Batman, and didn't bother to actually research any of them before writing it. It shows, but some particularly egregious examples:
    • The Atom didn't have any powers. He had a belt that made him able to shrink. Hank Henshaw does have a power, the ability to inhabit machines which should have been taken from him with the blacklight, and yet he's fighting alongside the Joker and other non-powered villains just fine.
    • Steel is named "the most powerful man on Earth" without the powered heroes. While he's certainly a tough cookie, he's pretty middle-tier, even as techie heroes go. For example the Rocket Red Brigade have roughly equivalent armour and there are quite a few of them to boot.
      • Could lead to Fridge Horror, the black light temporarily stopped Steel's armor so every stronger one might have died from it.
    • Many "depowered" heroes had no super-powers at all. Superman, Martian Manhunter and all other aliens simply have different physiologies than humans. While it was written that explicitly technologically-based heroes were unaffected, Green Lantern was depowered even though his ring is (at the time) strictly technological.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The story tries to tell us that a new generation of heroes is about, the problems with this are that there were likely millions of innocents killed due to people losing their powers, few superheroes getting over their problems, the magical characters (close friends of the heroes and entire civilizations) are still mysteriously missing, and Kyle Rayner, ultimately, ends up killed due to psychotic obsession. This isn't getting into the fact that many tech-based supervillains keep their powers and abilities, one new, superpowered being doesn't make the world better.
  • Idiot Plot: Linkara describes it as such, with much nonsense that would hardly occur in a Crisis Crossover instead of a three-part one shot.
  • Narm: The Phoenix Group's new gimmicks and costumes are very lame. Martian Manhunter becomes "Green Man" who for some reason utilizes a skull motif for his grenades; Aquaman becomes "The Hand" utilizing a gauntlet with interchangeable hands; Supergirl becomes "Justice" wielding a dual mace named "The Scales of Justice" and wears a blindfold in her costume that still lets her see, apparently just so she can pull of the "justice is blind" joke. Wally West as "Red Devil" works well enough, at least. The Reveal of these new identities are supposed to represent they've completed their training and have been reborn as a new generation of heroes, but you'll more likely groan at how bad their new gimmicks are.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Superman and Wonder Woman, considering that Lois is pretty handily derailed in order to break up with Clark. That said, both Wonder Woman and Superman undergo some fairly odd changes in behaviour and world view to come together in the way they did.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The idea of an Elseworlds story involving heroes losing their powers is an interesting idea, the possibilities were not explored that well in this story due to a very confused Aesop, as well as heroes acting like brats. Another idea that would have worked fine is working together to find out what caused the Black Light and caused them to lose their powers.
    • The issue of depowering Earth's meta-humans is explored again in Justice Society of America: Axis of Evil, where it's played for extreme drama in a Bad Future. In JSA's case, the depowerment was due to some Applied Phlebotinum from Those Wacky Nazis, and just about all of the former metas do get to Take a Level in Badass at the story's climax (which is somewhat at odds with how most of them were portrayed in Act Of God).
    • A similar story had aliens separating the Justice League into their superpowered selves and powerless human selves. The powerless human selves reacting to suddenly not having superpowers was written far more realistically and allowed for some exploration of personalities: a powerless Plastic Man returns to crime and loses his sense of humor because being Plastic Man made him a good person, Kyle Rayner goes crazy as an artist because he doesn't have a ring to visualize all the ideas in his head, a powerless J'onn J'onnz is fascinated at no longer being afraid of fire.
    • Interestingly, Marvel would do something similar with one of their "What If?" issues. However, they had a way to do it that made at least some sense in-universe. One of the main events was the "House of M" incident where it ended with Scarlet Witch decreeing "No More Mutants!" and using the massive power boost she had via some sort of chaos influx, depowered many mutants. In this What-If scenario, she instead proclaimed "No More Power!" and in this one she depowered all the heroes. There was no moping or angsting on the part of the good guys. When Red Skull came with a powerful new weapon, new Avengers risked their lives with Iron Man suits and led by Peter Parker, who broke said weapon (the Cosmic Cube).
  • Wangst: Superman, Green Lantern, and many other depowered heroes suffer from this.